Corporate business leaders and tech innovators connect and collaborate at Caribbean Export’s digital accelerator workshops

  • Caribbean Export and partners host workshop as part of EU-LAC Digital Accelerator project.
  • Event targeted corporates to connect C-suite executives with digital start-ups and SMEs.
  • Business leaders were urged to partner with innovators to achieve digital transformation.

Corporate entities, tech start-ups, and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) were brought together to collaborate on transforming the region’s digital business landscape at several recent workshops hosted by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export).

The ‘Digital Innovation Nexus: Bridging Corporates, SMEs and Start-Ups for Next-Gen Solutions’ workshop  series is being run by Caribbean Export in partnership with Tecnalia Ventures and the European Business & Innovation Centre Network, with funding from the EU Global Gateway.

The interactive workshops aim to make it easier for entrepreneurs and C-suite executives to find digital innovators working on viable solutions for real-world problems. The first workshop was held in Trinidad and Tobago (March 26 &27) and a second one in the Dominican Republic (April 16).

The most recent workshop held in Barbados on April 23, consisted of a wide range of Caribbean corporate companies seeking to enhance and advance their technological capabilities, find potential start-ups and SME partners for growth, and learn from other firms currently operating as pioneers in the regional digital sphere.

During her opening remarks at the event, Chairperson of Caribbean Export’s Board of Directors, Dr Lynette Holder, called the digital transformation taking place in the global private sector a “gamechanger”.

She told the audience: “We are in a digital world, we have to adopt digital platforms, and we have to embrace these modalities in order to do better business…and therefore we have a responsibility as leaders in the business community to help our sector adopt, migrate, adapt, move into this space and if we don’t, the reality is, we’ll be left behind.”

Speaking on behalf of the Delegation of the European Union, Lidia Martinez underscored why it is imperative for large and small Caribbean companies to work together in order to make sustainable progress in the digital space.

Ms Martinez stated: “What is clear is that the digital landscape has become the cornerstone of our interconnected world. Shaping economies, societies, and the very essence of human interaction. In the area of technology advancement, forging alliances and fostering collaboration is not just prudent, but imperative.”

During a high-level panel discussion which kicked off the event, representatives from Export Barbados, Orbit Innovation, Global Integrated FinTech Solution, and Caribbean Export discussed what is needed to redefine corporate innovation in the region.

Founder and Director of Orbit Innovation, Byron Gibson, spoke about the need for local innovators to consider their ideas from every possible business angle before pitching them to interested stakeholders. He also urged regional digital start-ups and SMEs to focus on “growth by proposition” without being stymied by the fear of failure or rejection.

Chief Executive Officer at Global Integrated FinTech Solutions, Dave Sahadath, explained how his company has been leveraging partnerships to enter the African marketplace. He emphasised the importance of working with reputable partners that share a company’s ethos and also told attendees not to underestimate the power of social media platforms in terms of finding and reaching the right people.

A fourth edition of the workshop is scheduled to take place in Jamaica on 14 May 2024.